Cytozyme Laboratories, a Salt Lake company using high technology to improve agricultural crops, and founder/owner Steve Baughman Thursday received a small Business of the Year award from the Small Business Council of the Salt Lake AreaChamber of Commerce.

Baugham received the award from Wm. James Mortimer, chairman of the chamber's board of governors, and Robert Kelly, owner of the Kelly Co., sponsor of the award. The ceremony came during a luncheon in the Marriott Hotel at the conclusion of a tax planning seminar sponsored by the council.Cytozyme was founded in 1975 to "develop environmentally safe agricultural products from biotechnological research," said Baughman. "Over the years Cytozyme has been at the forefront of biotechnological research and development for agricultural products, and we've been selling our products in Europe, Latin America and the Pacific rim for many years," he said.

The award is based upon how long the company has been in business, innovation of product or service, chamber involvement, response to adversity, growth in number of employees, increase in sales or unit volume and current and past financial reports, said Sam Guevara, chairman of the awards committee.

In explaining what his company does, Baughman said, "Our products are based on a proprietary two-stage fermentation process of growing specific strains of bacteria to produce a product that improves the quality, appearance and yield in a wide variety of crops and animals."

He said the company started with five employees and now has 35 employees worldwide with 25 of them based in Salt Lake City. "It has taken a number of years to establish our technology, but we are now seeing that effort pay off. Sales volume has increased an average of 49 percent in each of the past four years," he said.